Chrome is probably the best web browser (sorry, Firefox fans!). It is uber fast, user-friendly and UI is sleek. All good, except one thing: It hogs memory (aka RAM) like no other program. It has kind of become normal for Chrome to hog gigabytes of RAM. If you’ve ever gone through Task Manager’s Performance tab while Chrome’s open, you must have seen the “real” face of Google Chrome. It’s definitely not bad thing, considering that it uses all of that memory. But that’s what the real Chrome is-a memory hogger. At any given time, a good deal of processes relating to Chrome will be hogging memory.
Although the fact that Chrome operates so much memory may not mean anything for people with lots of RAM or for those with only Chrome open. But it may mean a whole lots of stuff, if you have more than one computer program open most of the time. If that’s your case, memory should overload for you often, right? And since memory (RAM) is directly proportional to computer performance, overloaded memory would make your computer as slow as snail or worse, just hang up!
Why Chrome Uses So Much Memory?
So why is it that Chrome uses so much memory, whereas its rivals Firefox, Opera and Safari work just fine despite same amount of memory? Firefox is not slow, right? So why exactly? Well, it boils down to the way Chrome works. Unlike Firefox and other browsers, Chrome employs a separate process for each of its tabs, extensions, plugins and themes. So if you have 20 tabs open, you got 25 processes all separate memory(ies). 5 for default plugins including Adobe Flash Player, Native Client, Chrome PDF Viewer, etc. 6 extensions, summed up you got 31 processes.
But why? Why Chrome does things with separate processes? Because if any of the plugins, extensions or tabs crash, they don’t affect rest of the page or complete tab. This is especially the case with Adobe Flash Player; it crashes often. Now if you’re Chrome user, not much will be affected if Flash Player crashed. This clever setup keeps usability up to standard and delivers good user experience, agree?
Of course, the greater the number of tabs you have opened, more will be processes and therefore more memory hogged. Same goes for extensions. Check if you’re running out of memory or overloading, then shut down a few tabs to relieve memory of the burden. And no, same does not go for Plugins, because they’re essential for some hardcore stuff like Flash multimedia and viewing PDF files. You sure can disable any plugin you want via chrome://plugins URL, but it will disable respective functionality.
The only reason I see Chrome hogging so much memory is: usability. It’s definitely not bad, provided you have sufficient. But can be problem if you’re running out of RAM.
How to Fix This?
So now you know why Chrome uses so much memory (RAM) and that it’s not a bad thing. How do you fix it? Well, for starters, you can reduce the number of tabs and extensions running & that will suffice for most. But if despite less number of tabs, computer is slowing down and doing other annoying things, well, then you got a problem. And only option I see is upgrading the RAM. Yes, just upgrade the RAM and all should be well and OK.
This should be easy thing for desktop computers and a bit harder for notebooks and laptops.
However if you got sufficient RAM, but can’t close tabs because, well, they’re all in used, you have following techniques.
The Great Suspender
TL;DR – Got 50 tabs open, but need computer to perform smoothly? Here’s the remedy.
The Great Suspender is a Chrome extension. Install it. It works by suspending those Chrome tabs which have not been used for a specified period of time. You can specify how much time to wait before suspending an inactive tab from extension settings by right-clicking extension icon, clicking Options > XYX. You can also whitelist websites so that they don’t get suspended, despite being inactive for said period of time. Screen Capturing is another useful feature, which captures a screenshot of inactive page and shows that all while suspending it too. It works wonderfully!
To unsuspend a tab, just go to it and click anywhere on the page. It will be back, but it will have to start from scratch. Only this extension will boost the Chrome for most people. Other features of this extension include specifying whether the extension suspends pinned tabs, automatically unsuspend tabs when gains focus, etc.